WASHINGTON – As the Latina daughter of an illegal immigrant, 24-year-old Miriam Cepeda is not the mainstream media’s notion of a typical supporter of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
But she is defying stereotype to wage a relentless one-woman campaign, telling CNN, “I completely agree with Donald J. Trump’s policies as far as creating a stronger border and enforcing our border security.”
And that’s because the self-described “Trump girl” agrees with so much of what his critics have called immigrant bashing.
Trump drew intense criticism from the left when he said a year ago, “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
But Cepeda said, “He’s right about everything he says – if we don’t have a strong border, we don’t have a nation.”
She illustrated that with her own experience.
“I first-hand have seen … friends that are getting involved with illegal activity that’s associated with drugs or human trafficking,” adding, “It’s an issue that people need to realize is reality.”
Trump has pointed out the statistics on the systematic rape of women crossing the border was first reported by Fusion, a website run by the Spanish-language network Univision.
“Well, if you look at the statistics of people coming, you look at the statistics on rape, on crime, on everything coming in illegally into this country, it’s mind-boggling!” said the candidate.
“It’s unbelievable when you look at what’s going on. So all I’m doing is telling the truth,” he added.
That appears to be backed up by the article Fusion published in 2014 titled, “Is rape the price to pay for migrant women chasing the American Dream?”
It reported, “A staggering 80 percent of Central American girls and women crossing Mexico en route to the United States are raped along the way, according to directors of migrant shelters interviewed by Fusion.”
But, facts are one thing, impressions are another.
Campaigning for Trump in Texas’ Hidalgo County, where 90 percent of the population identifies as Hispanic or Latino, has been an uphill battle for Cepeda, but she said she’s making inroads.
“I get shot down maybe four (out of) five times,” she admitted. “But at the same time, it just takes one positive feedback to keep you going.”
The University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley graduate student of history said most of the Trump signs she has posted in her region get trashed, but she just keeps going.
Cepeda is not formally part of the Trump team but she began campaigning for him before Super Tuesday on March 1 when, she told CNN, she saw something unique and special in the candidate.
The network called Cepeda “an unlikely spokesperson for Trump” because “he doesn’t poll well with Latinos or women,” but she took issue with that.
“Just look at his daughter, Ivanka Trump,” she replied. “Look at an inspiration she is to any woman, any woman that’s seeking a career, and wants to be a mother. She’s the perfect example of the ideal, classy, professional woman. That just shows as a reflection of her father.”
She said she met Trump at a San Antonio fundraiser on June 17, just two after holding her own mixer for his supporters at the Hidalgo County Republican Party office.
At the event, CNN found more Latinos who support Trump.
“I’ve watched him grow as a presidential candidate,” said Dario Garcia. “I’ve been exposed to the border my entire life … He’s the only one who will fix the problems at the border.”
Rumelda Cantu said, as the only Republican in her family, “It’s sometimes stressful during the holidays.” But, she added, “I always try to get my family to see things the way I see them. Trump said he’ll help the veterans. Who else will do that?”
As for Cepeda, she wants to be become an official member of team Trump, saying, “I want to maybe be a paid staffer.”
And she warns not to bet against her.
“For those who shoot me down, watch me.”